GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
The U.S. Department of Education (Education) manages one of the largest discretionary appropriations of any federal agency, and plays a key role in supporting efforts to meet the nation's education goals.
In fiscal year 2004, lenders made about $65 billion in loans through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) to assist students in paying for postsecondary education. The Higher Education Act (HEA), which authorizes FFELP, broadly defined eligible lenders--including schools.
Internal control weaknesses in the Department of Education's payment processes make the department vulnerable to improper payments. GAO focused on three types of disbursements made from May 1998 through September 2000--grants and loans totaling $181.